“She is a little girl, she is only 10 and she wouldn’t have known what to do if she hadn’t been taught at school,” says Michelle Floyd.
First aid is not a statutory part of the school curriculum and only 24 per cent of schools currently teach first aid (YouGov Survey 2014).
But luckily for Michelle Floyd when she collapsed, her 10-year-old daughter, Hanna, knew exactly what to do. After attending a first aid club at Bury Grammar School, Hanna was quickly able to put her first aid knowledge into practice when her mum became unresponsive.
Her teacher, Mrs Woodhead, who has taught Hanna first aid along with other 10–11-year-olds for the past three years, commented, “It’s a life skill that I think all children should know.”
Putting skills into practice
Michelle and Hanna had been driving home from a friend’s house when Michelle started to feel unwell and dizzy. When they got inside, Michelle collapsed and did not respond when Hanna called her name.
Hanna knew she needed to act quickly to help her mum but she did not panic when she called for an ambulance.
© Info“She knew what to do because she said she had practised calling 999 at school,” said Michelle. The call handler stayed on the phone and talked Hanna through the key actions. Remembering what she had learned at school, Hanna checked for breathing by tilting her mum’s head back and looking and listening for breaths. Michelle was breathing, so Hanna moved her on to her side and tilted her head back to help keep her airway open so that she could continue to breathe. All the while, Hanna remained calm and continued to talk to and reassure her mum.
The paramedics quickly arrived. Michelle had started to come round and was able to respond to the paramedics, although she had no idea of how Hanna had helped her. The paramedics took Michelle and Hanna to hospital, where they conducted further tests, and concluded that Michelle had had an allergic reaction to some medication she had taken earlier in the day. Michelle was back home later that evening and was so grateful that her daughter had known what to do. Michelle said, “Hanna was just amazing.”
Michelle thinks learning first aid is important at any age: “I think everybody should learn first aid because nobody knows when a situation like this could happen. I am extremely grateful to the school for teaching first aid.”
First aid for children
© InfoChildren at Bury Grammar School love learning first aid. Hanna’s teacher Mrs Woodhead said, “They like it because it is really practical and there is a real reason for doing it. I was so proud and pleased that Hanna had been able to help her mum.
“I have always used British Red Cross resources because they are so straightforward and they make it so easy.”
The first aid club is run through lunchtime and after school. Both sessions are optional and are really popular, with over 20 children attending each session.
Mrs Woodhead would encourage other schools to do the same, not only because children love first aid but because giving children the skills to help someone is invaluable.
Hanna said, “It is something you may not think you will ever need to use in real life, but it will come in handy – just like it did with me.”
What the children thought
The pupils at Bury Grammar School think everybody should learn first aid and here’s why:
“First aid is an amazing life skill to have, as I will always be able to help,” said Sofia.
“I think it is important to learn first aid because it is a life lesson and it may save somebody’s life. I think all schools should educate students about first aid. I really enjoy first aid,” added Kate.
“First aid is important because these types of things happen on a regular basis throughout the world. So if you were there you would be able to save them. If you learn first aid as a child it will stay with you forever,” said Tolulope.
Sam said, “Children can use first aid in their future life.”
Lola added, “We learn first aid in a fun and not scary way – we learn about the positive outcomes. Children can use first aid throughout their whole life, not just in school – it is a life skill.”
If you are inspired by Hanna’s story and work or volunteer with children, visit our Life.Live It. website to find our resources.